Patients share 'horrendous' ED experiences

Image source, Kirsty Atkinson
Image caption,
Kirsty Atkinson says the situation in Ulster Hospital was 'chaotic'

Patients and their families have been sharing their experiences of lengthy trolley waits in Northern Ireland's hospitals in recent days.

Over the Christmas holidays an unprecedented number of people turned up at Emergency Departments.

Some 15,626 patients were treated in emergency departments - a 14% increase compared to the same period in 2015.

Kirsty Atkinson spent three days in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald before Christmas with a kidney infection.

She spent two of those days on a trolley in a corridor.

"It's the lack of dignity and privacy that's the worst," said Ms Atkinson.

Image source, Kirsty Atkinson
Image caption,
Kirsty Atkinson's bed in the narrow corridor, which she shared on Facebook

After the initial 24 hours she was asked if she would take an "undesignated" bed.

From Sunday lunchtime until Tuesday lunchtime, she lay in the corridor of a ward, which led to the men's toilets, kitchen and staff area.

"I was incredibly upset and angry," she said.

At times, Ms Atkinson had to ask for her medication, and nurses said they had forgotten her.

Image caption,
Recent days have seen unprecedented pressures on hospital emergency departments

Karen Huisman spent 26 hours waiting in an emergency department when her father was taken to hospital on Boxing Day.

He was triaged at about midnight and was not seen by another doctor until about 07:00.

"Words can't describe it, it was just horrendous," said Ms Huisman.

"You're so anxious for the next doctor to come along and have a look at him."

Image caption,
Karen Huisman described a 'horrendous' 26-hour wait

Some people took to Facebook to complain that they were diverted to already overburdened hospitals in Belfast from the part-time emergency department at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick:

Image source, Facebook